by Capt. Greg Stamper
Another great month of fishing has passed, and the summer patterns are in full swing. The combination of predictable weather patterns, great water quality, and ample bait is making things easy. There are lots of options for everyone looking to fish in a few inches of water all the way out to 80 miles. This pattern should continue for awhile now, so go wet some lines. Those who are last minute in booking a guide are going to be hard-pressed to get out for another month on the great tide days.
The nearshore bite has been a silver king fishing show. Tarpon are finishing up the last of the spawn in June and are just about everywhere. Moving forward, you will have fish that are more concerned about feeding their bellies, verse making baby tarpon. The best numbers of fish continue to be along Captiva, Cayo Costa, and up to Boca Grande, but packs of fish from 70 to 150 pounds have been found from Naples all the way up, in as shallow as 7 feet. Cut baits of the mullet, Catfish, and ladyfish varieties have worked well. When the fish are favoring the top column of the water crabs, flies, and even large swim baits will get the job done. Those fishing our nearshore wrecks better be ready to pitch a bait at a few cobia, as there will be some big ones moving around.
Inshore fishing, including fishing our beaches, has been exceptionally good for snook. July is probably my favorite month to fish the beaches early in the morning. Anglers do not even need to fish by boat should linesiders be what they would like to chase. It did not matter if you were fishing with artificial, flies, or bait in June as the bite stayed steady even for those on the sand. The only thing I would recommend as we move through the next few months, as stated before, is start early. Once we get to 11am, things get hot and that does slow the bite down dramatically. Another important part of fishing during the summer is land the fish quickly, keep it in the water, and release it fast as the hot water combined with an extended fight can potentially kill a fish.
Offshore is all about red snapper and will continue that way until it closes. The bite has been best for the red snappers in 150 feet plus. Red snappers up to 30 pounds are being caught and limits for most boats are meet within the first hour or two. The bycatch will continue to be gag grouper, other snappers, and an occasionally tuna. Most of the red snappers range between 12 and 25 pounds, so be ready for that size when you are out there getting your two.
Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
Snookstampcharters.com Fort Myers beach, Fl